As an author, I, as well as many other storytellers, can get so involved or caught up in our stories that we can forget that we are entertaining an audience, Which would be you, the purchaser of my books. This is where the power of a first edit comes in. The first edit to a book is all about storyline and content and continuity. For me and other authors, this can be the most tumultuous part of the editing process. This is where someone other than the author is trying to work on your story. In the desire to make it better. Which, depending on the editor, can work or not work. This is why selecting an editor so carefully and wisely is so important. The wrong editor can break your story. The right editor can help turn your book into the next Pulitzer Prize winner.

Once my book has made it past the first edit, I send my newly revised manuscript to a select audience for a Beta review;

Here’s what I send to my Beta readers:

What I am looking for is, first and foremost, your HONEST feedback. If you don’t like the work, please say you don’t like the work. My ego would prefer you don’t use words like “it sucked,” though. Just the gentle, honest truth.

What I am asking you to look for and offer your comments on, in order of priority:

  1. Storyline – does the story flow from day to day?
  2. The pace of the story – is it too slow or too fast? (In specific places or overall.)
  3. Do I get bogged down in details in some places and need to provide more details in other places? If so, please specify.
  4. Character development – do I need more or less?
  5. Suggestions on improving the story.
  6. Is the story enjoyable and easy to read? Please mark any passages that you find difficult or challenging.
  7. Basic editing – missed words and blatant grammatical errors, if you have the time and inclination.

The story has gone through a first edit, meaning it has been edited enough so that the story can be read! So, there could still be grammatical errors within the story.

Once again, I thank you for taking the time to endeavour to read, comment on, and return this book to me BEFORE (DUE DATE). I’d love to have enough time to implement your suggestions and do a rewrite for a (TIME OF RELEASE) release.

This is what I sent out for my most recent book, “Alchemy of The Heart: Shavon Sun Cloud.”

For me, this is the very hardest part. This is where a real audience gets the opportunity to read the book and provide me with feedback. This is also the most rewarding, as this is the part where people tell you about what they “LOVED” in your book. They also tell you what you could do to improve it. As constructive criticism was so important in my first book, “A Warrior’s Heart: The Awakening.” I was told they loved the characters and the character development. But I was too slow to engage the audience. I need to hook the readers into the story sooner.

So, I moved an entire section to the beginning of the book, which hooked people in sooner and made for a far better read!

If you think you would like to be a Beta reader, email me at neil@neilthrussell.com and request to be on my beta reading team.

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